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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol Ii Mon Khmer Siamese Chinese Families"

J4                                                               TAI GBOUP,
Conjugation.—When a Tai word performs the function of a verbs it can, as it
stands, be used for any tense, mood3 or voice, thus,
Present Time   phrau kun-phrwg dai Jchau} how many persons possess (dai) rice.
Past Time        man bd, he said,
Future Time     (Aitonia), lew po pai laut I will go (pai) to (my) father (and)
will say (lau),
Imperative       mau khd-lik bai chdm doin> thou servant keep (bat) with, keep
(me) with (thy) servants,
Infinitive          kau bau pai-kti Idk, I not went to steal (ld&), I did not go to
steal
Ferial Now     bai shau-hing-jau*o (I) had performed watching (bai), I had
watched
Past Participle bd ban, (on) the said day, on the clay referred to,           \
Active Voice     pan-kit lufoko rai-dai mail tdng-lai khdm3 what son lost (roi*
dai) thy all gold, the son who lost all thy gold,
Passive Voice   man rai-da43 he was lost.
Y0ice.—It follows from the above that there is no formal distinction between the
Active voice and the Passive. The same word has either an active or a passive significa-
tion according to the meaning required by the sentence. Thus, take kau po, which
means * I beat.' On the other hand, kau-maipo means " beats me," that is to say * I
am beaten'. Here there can be no doubt that the latter sentence is to be construed
passively, owing to kau-mai being in the accusative case. But, if we take the example
given above, man rai*dai it means both she lost' and 'he was lost,' and we can only
gather that it is to be construed passively because the general sense of the context
requires it. The idea of activity or passivity would not enter into the mind of an Ahom
speaker at all, He simply says * he loss,' and leaves the hearer to conclude as to what
he means.
Mood and Tense.—As already said, the bare word itself can be used for any tense,
and .is frequently so used, but, when this would lead to ambiguity, as it sometimes must,
the accidents of mood and tense are expressed by the use of particles, the form of the
main word never undergoing any change, It cannot be said that these are suffixed or
prefixed to the word which performs the function of the verb, for they are often widely
separated from it. Thus take the sentence po-mdn pdn-kdn tdng-lai khrang-lwg kldng
Mng pi nting jau, the-father begin-to-divide all property between two elder son younger
son complete, Le,} the father began to divide'his property between his elder and younger
son. Here the word performing the function of a verb is pdn-kdn, divide-begin, and the
particle indicating past time, jau, is separated from it by six other words. In fact, in
the Tai mind, these particles do not give past, present, or future time to any particular
word in the sentence, but to the sentence as a whole. The above sentence would present
itself to a Tai speaker's mind something like this, {the commencement of the division
of the property by the father between the elder and younger son is an event done and
completed.' The word jau which I have called a particle of past time is really an inde-
pendent word whose root idea is ' completion.' How little jau is really a verbal suffix,
but really has a distinct meaning of its own, is well shown by the fact that we find it in
clauses in which, by no process of ingenuity, we can discover the existence of any verbal